How to tell if your gas engineer is working legally

Did you know that gas engineers are the only tradespeople where it is compulsory for them to be part of a registration body in order to carry out work legally? If not, you’re not alone…

Research carried out by Gas Safe Register found that more than half (52%) of those surveyed admit that they have let a tradesperson into their home without checking if they are qualified.

The research also identified the factors that make people trust a tradesperson, which are:

  • Personal presentation (44%)
  • How official they look (43%)
  • Body language (25%)
  • Personality (22%)
  • A friendly face (18%)

Trusting gas engineers without checking they are on the Gas Safe Register could leave you and your family at risk from illegal gas work and dangerous appliances. Unsafe gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Don’t cut corners with gas.

How to ensure you are using a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer

  1. Only employ a suitably qualified Gas Safe registered engineer when having gas work carried out in your home. Gas Safe Register is the official register for legally qualified engineers. You can find a registered engineer in your area by visiting the Gas Safe Register website at www.GasSafeRegister.co.ukor by calling on0800 408 5500.
  2. Always ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe ID card. Make sure you check the back of the card, which will state which gas appliances they are qualified to work on.
  1. If you suspect that someone is an illegal fitter or are worried about gas work carried out in your home, please contact Gas Safe Register.

 

Follow Gas Safe Register’s top tips to keep you and your family gas safe: 

  • Know the symptoms of CO poisoning; headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness.
  • If you smell gas or think there might be a gas leak, call the free 24-hour national gas emergency number immediately on 0800 111 999.
  • Never attempt to work on a gas appliance yourself, always seek the help of a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer who can work on your gas cooker, boiler or fire in a safe way.
  • Be aware of the signs of unsafe gas appliances; if the flames on the gas hob are yellow or orange and lazy, rather than being a crisp blue flame; dark staining on/around appliances; pilot lights that frequently blow out; increased condensation inside windows.

Crown Golf Competition

 

  1. By entering our crown golf competition, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions. To enter, entrants but must be aged 18 years and over and be a resident in the UK. Employees (and their families or agents) of Checkatrade, Crown Golf or any of their associated companies cannot enter the Competition.
  2. To enter the Competition please comment on the Facebook post specifying the exact number of golf clubs you can see. The competition will be open from 10:30AM on 08/06/2018 and will close at 12:00 midnight on the 14/06/2018. Winner will be announced Midday Friday 15th Entries received before the opening dates or after the closing date will not be entered into the Competition. There will be 1 prize winner in total, selected from all eligible entries through Facebook.
  3. The winner of the Competition will receive a round of Golf for two people at any local Crown Golf location to them.
  4. One entry per person. If more than one entry per person is received only the first entry will be accepted. Any entrants using false or dishonest information or creating multiple accounts for the purposes of entering the Competition will be disqualified. Entries that do not meet the rules of the Competition will be excluded and Checkatrade will not be liable for entries not received for any reason.  It is each entrant’s responsibility to ensure that the contact details they provide are accurate and complete. No responsibility will be accepted by Checkatrade for the loss or delay of the Prize in the post.
  5. Checkatrade reserves the right to substitute the Prize with a prize of equal or greater value in the event that the Prize described above cannot be provided to the Winner. The Prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be given.
  1. The Winner will be drawn at random from all valid entries received between the Opening Date and the Closing Date. Checkatrade will notify the Winner by announcing it on Facebook 15/08/2018.
  2. Checkatrade’s decision will be final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into.
  3. By entering the Competition, you agree that, if you win, you will allow Checkatrade to use your name and general location of publicity, news and promotional purposes in any and all media during this and any future promotions or advertising without charge.
  4. Checkatrade shall not be responsible or liable for any expenses incurred by the winner over and above the Prize offered above and the Winner uses the Prize at their own risk.
  5. Checkatrade reserves the right to change, alter or withdraw the Competition at any time.
  6. If any of these terms and conditions are found to be void or unenforceable, that term shall be deemed to be deleted and the remaining terms and conditions shall continue in full force and effect.
  7. These terms and conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. Any dispute arising is subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  8. Please note that the Competition is not in any way sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook and that Facebook shall not be liable for anything relating to the Competition.

Home Improvements

If you are not ready to take on any big projects, small improvements and updates can make the world of difference to the look and feel of your property like painting exterior woodwork such as doors, window frames and fencing.

Roof tiles, gutters, foundations, windows and doors are all exposed to the weather. Throughout the harsh winter winds, snow and torrential downpours can cause damage. Check all exteriors, seals and brickwork and if you spot something that needs mending and cannot be fixed by your own hands, then call a tradesperson to come and make any required repairs.

Painting the exterior of a house is no mean feat. It requires time, care and the right equipment so you might decide it’s one for a professional. An expert will be able to provide the scaffolding needed to reach each level of the house and ensure the job is done safely and to a high standard. It is a job that needs to be done every few years so it is well worth looking and seeing if that time is now! You can search here for Checkatrade.com approved members.

Check smoke alarms

Official advice is to check your smoke alarm at least once a month, whilst you’re busy on your spring clean take the time to do an additional check. It’s quick and easy to do, just remember to tell everyone at home that you are doing it before the alarm goes off.

Before you test, vacuum it gently using the soft brush attachment to remove dust from the sensors. Press the test button and the alarm should make an audible alarm for a brief period of time. If it doesn’t it’s worth replacing the batteries and retesting. If the alarm is over 10 years old, you should consider replacing the whole unit. Your local hardware shop should have a range of products for you to select from.

Prepare your garden

As we are now entering a period of better weather, we can start to look forward to spending more time outside, spring is a great time to start all your preparations.

it is time to make sure your mower makes the cut. Give the machine a thorough clean, replace oil/petrol where necessary, inspect the electrics, lubricate all moving parts and if needed, sharpen the cutting blade. Take extra care when handling the blade. You might look to get it professionally serviced. You can search here for Checkatrade.com approved garden machinery repair expert’s local to you.

Take all the garden furniture and play equipment you’ve stored away over winter, check it over for any damage and natural deterioration and make repairs if needed. If you have wooden furniture, once general repairs have been made, it is always worth re-staining/oiling to protect it from all weather conditions. Your local hardware store should have a selection of products available to suit your needs.

No doubt you will be looking forward to spending summer days in the garden, cooking up a storm on the BBQ and soaking up the sun. Although not the cheapest project to undertake, getting a professional landscaper in will help you create the garden of your dreams, no matter the size of your outdoor space. Why not search our listings of landscapers in your area here.

Conservatories or converted outbuildings get used much more in the spring/summer months as they become a relaxing place to enjoy the sun. Give these spaces a revamp before the summer season begins. You could do this by introducing pastel colours to the furnishings, lighten the walls with a lick of white paint, and bring the outdoors in, by welcoming some plants into the space. This is an easy and effective way of transforming a space this spring/summer.

If you have green fingers now is the perfect time to start planting seeds for summer bedding plants. It is also a good time to plant fruit trees.

Do you want to be able to make more of your garden in the lighter evenings? Outdoor lighting is a relatively easy way to do this, depending on your budget you can get solar powered lights on spikes or you could get a professional in to install mains wired lighting. you can search for Checkatrade.com approved electrician here. There are lots of different way to add some outdoor heating too, from gas powered heaters to fire pits, you can take barbeques into the late evenings.

Forget man caves, it’s all about she sheds these days, a trend that looks like its here to stay! She sheds can be anything you want them to be, creative spaces, somewhere to relax or space for all your planting needs. They can be small or large, the only limitations are space, imagination and budget.

Clean patios and driveways

It’s easy to ignore all those pesky little weeds in the darker winter months but as the days get longer it gets harder to ignore. There’s no quick fix for this, just good old elbow grease. Make sure you have the right tools for the job and a something soft to kneel on. Try to get the whole root out if you can or you could choose to use a chemical weed killer.

Before you reach for the jet washer make sure you have swept the area well first, this will help prevent sending any loose stones flying.

If there are any oil stains it’s worth adding an appropriate cleaner to the area, your local hardware store should have a selection available.

If you notice any damaged areas you should look for some professional assistance, you can search for Checkatrade.com approved members here.

Deep clean your home

There’s nothing better than starting off the new season with a big spring clean in preparation for when the days get lighter and the weather gets warmer, but where do you start? Our hints and tips should help you get on the right track.

Kitchen:  Empty all your cupboards and give the doors and shelves a good scrub. Hot, soapy water or your usual kitchen cleaner should work fine. If you have a more specialist kitchen, for example granite or high gloss, you should refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning.

This is also a good opportunity to throw out any expired food, don’t forget the frozen food. If you decide to defrost your freezer make sure you protect your floor and have plenty of towels to help soak up the water as the ice melts.

Why not go through all your lunchboxes and food containers and match them up with their lids? Consider discarding any damaged or odd lids.

Take the time to reorganise the cupboard under the kitchen sink, what do you need to keep and what can you throw away or recycle? Put the items you use the most in easy reach, you could consider investing in some storage boxes and labelling everything so everything is easy to find when you need it.

Lounge: Move all the furniture and vacuum underneath, you might also consider cleaning your carpet, if you’d rather call a professional to help you can search for carpet cleaning specialist members here.  

Take the opportunity to wash your curtains and cushions, dust your blinds and ornaments, wash vases and recycle all your old magazines and newspapers.

Don’t forget to give your skirting boards a wash down, cleaning wipes or warm water should do the trick, make sure your cloth isn’t too wet or you might damage the wood and your flooring.

Let light bulbs cool down and then give them a quick wipe with a duster to make sure you are maximising the light.

Bedrooms:  Give everything a good dust, vacuum under the bed and other large furniture if you can move it, wait until you have some help if you can’t. Instead of putting everything back where it was take the opportunity to have a move around, change is as good as a rest.

Flip the mattress, wash the curtains, take the time to go through your wardrobe and donate clothes you no longer wear.

Consider treating yourself to some nice new colourful bedding to freshen the look of your room.

Bathrooms:  Give all your shower gels and bath foams a wipe with a clean cloth around the necks of all the bottles. Clean toothbrush holder and soap dishes.

Give the grouting a good scrub and look to repair any damaged grouting. If you need help from a tiler you can search our members here. Clean or replace your shower curtain if you have one

A quick wipe over your skirting boards prior to cleaning the floor, always us the appropriate detergent for your floor type.

Deep clean your bath, loo and basin. Don’t forget the bathroom mirror and if you have a medicine cupboard, dispose of any expired medicines or unwanted products.

Under the Stairs: We all have the one cupboard or room that is a bit unloved. Now is as good a time as any to give it a good clear out.

Take everything out and see what you need to keep and what can be donated or stored elsewhere like the attic.

It’s amazing the impact decluttering can do for your mood.

5 Ways Offsite Construction Methods Can Revolutionise Residential Schemes

It’s obvious to many that the United Kingdom is in the grips of a housing crisis. Estimates vary, but the consensus amongst think tanks and politicians is that the UK needs to up its building levels, and fast – to ameliorate the problems caused by a lack of supply in the housing market. Construction, of course, is the backbone of this – which is where offsite construction techniques come in. Quiet, cost-effective and eco-friendly, this blog post will explain why offsite construction is the future of large-scale residential schemes.

Image source: Unsplash

Cost

The bottom line is, naturally, absolutely crucial when it comes to building a residential scheme – you don’t want to run the risk of bankrupting yourself and leaving a site half-built. Offsite construction methods offer a gratifying cost benefit – the project is delivered sooner, so the return on investment is generally superior to that of traditional construction. This also means peace of mind for local authorities and housing associations looking to build quickly and avoid being left out of pocket.

Speed

Punctual and speedy construction techniques can only be good for the building of residential construction schemes, meaning tenants on a waiting lists spend less time in temporary housing – something that is sorely needed due to the sheer number of people on these waiting lists. Modular construction is quick because it utilises factory techniques, meaning there is a controlled environment for the assembly of each module – unobstructed by inclement weather or traffic disruption.

Eco-friendliness

Conventional building methods often harm the environment, by using intensive amounts of water and producing a lot of waste. If you’re looking to create a residential space that’s in harmony with its surroundings, offsite construction is an ideal solution. Not only does it prevent the disruption of the local environment (which is common with full-scale, piecemeal construction projects), but it’s also a whole lot quieter – reducing noise pollution that could affect local wildlife and the sleeping patterns of local residents. 

Safety concerns nullified

Site safety has always been a hot-button issue, as proper health and safety practice breeds confidence and happiness in a workforce. Problems that often arise onsite can be nullified by switching production to a factory setting, with more concrete health and safety procedures in a more controllable environment.

Image source: Unsplash

Flexibility

Renovations or refits are very difficult within conventionally constructed buildings, often involving walls being knocked through, flooring being relaid and the whole process taking a significant length of time – during which the site can become a muddy mess. All of this is not exactly homely, and would negatively impact on a residential development if, say, an apartment building needed a refit. With offsite construction, there exists an ability to swap modules using a process that’s much easier and less destructive than a conventional renovation.

This building technique has so much to offer, with even Grade I listed architectural marvels now being updated to include energy-efficient modular elements. Offsite construction really does have the revolutionary potential to help build the homes of tomorrow, cheaply, safely, and in style.

5 Things to do When the Power goes Down at Work

Electricity is one of the many things that is taken for granted in the modern era, yet power outages can occur at any time (usually at the worse time possible). Most businesses would come to a standstill without electricity, so it’s important for you to know what you are doing in the event of a power cut.

In this short guide, we will provide you with a brief run down of the 5 steps you should take if/when the power goes down at work.

Let’s begin!

  1. Turn off all computers, appliances etc.

When the power goes down, it’s a wise idea to turn off all computers / appliances for when the power eventually comes back on. When the power suddenly comes back on, it can result in a power surge. A power surge may cause any appliances that have been left on to become damaged as the electricity surges back through them. Leaving a light on should be OK, as this will let you know when the power has come back on!

  1. Check other local buildings and offices

If you can, check the other local offices in the building or other nearby buildings to see if their power has gone too. If the buildings neighbouring yours still have electricity then this will indicate that there is a fault with your building, it’s wiring or appliances within, rather than a large-scale blackout. Calling an electrician in this scenario will help to determine what the route of the problem is.

  1. Call 105

The next thing for you to do would be to call 105 to put you through to your local electricity network operator. 105 is a free service available to anyone in England, Scotland and Wales, and can be used to find out information relating to power cuts in the local area and when the power will be back up and running of course.

  1. Tell someone… or everyone

Letting others know that you are in the middle of a power outage is a wise idea. Using social media from your mobile phone or other forms of available communications will help you to do this. If you have access to a mobile phone with social media, try accessing your company’s social media pages to inform your existing/potential customers so that they aren’t left in the dark like you.

  1. Make sure you have backup power

In the event of a blackout or power outage, it’s wise to have the option of a backup power source to help you resume normal service. Your backup generator should be set up to start automatically, should the power ever go down. This will help to minimise your company losses as your generator will kick seamlessly into action and prevent any downtime.

Prepare Yourself for a Power Cut

You need to prepare yourself for when the power goes down. Learn the 5 processes as we have outlined above or print them out for the notice board in your workplace kitchen. Make the effort to get your hands on a backup generator, if you haven’t already, and this should prevent you ever needing to go through steps 1-4.

In the event of a power outage at work, your backup generator will help to ensure business continues to run smoothly, as if nothing ever happened at all.

Diesel Generators are one of the best options available for backup power, ensuring you always have a backup power source available to help you in the event of a blackout.

Bellwood Rewinds is one of the leading choices when it comes to diesel generators for sale in the UK, with a wide range of new/used generators for sale on their website: https://www.bellwoodrewinds.co.uk

The inspiration starts here…with a visit to Grand Designs Live

 

Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, returns to London’s ExCeL from 5 – 13 May 2018. Whether you’re planning a self-build, renovation or are adding the finishing touches, this unique event offers visitors a chance to discover the latest innovations, explore this year’s trends and preview unseen products.

Presented by Grand Designs guru Kevin McCloud, the show is the ultimate day out for any budding grand designer. From free expert advice, new product launches and over 500 specialist exhibitors in six project zones, there is something for every home project at this multi-award winning event.

Claim your FREE tickets!

We have teamed up with Grand Designs Live to offer you FREE weekday tickets and £10 weekend tickets to the event (saving up to £17)*

Simply visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the link to book your tickets and enter the code CHECK2018 to claim!

*T&C’s: Valid on standard admission tickets only. Tickets must be booked in advance before midnight on 12 May 2018. Saving is based on door rate ticket prices. Free weekday tickets valid between 8 –11 May 2018 only. Subject to limited availability, tickets allocated on a first come-first served basis. £10 weekend tickets incur a £1.70 transaction fee.